Q&A: Ekphrastic poetry in Graffiti Alley

The Boston Book Festival team was excited to sit down with Alexis Ivy, one of many presenters on this year’s exciting Lit Crawl lineup. Alexis’s session, entitled “Conversations with Art: Ekphrastic Writing in Graffiti Alley,” will be an opportunity for audiences to converse with their immediate surroundings through ekphrasis, a writing style focused on descriptions of art. Below, see some of Alexis’s thoughts on the creative process and how Boston as a community influences work across mediums. And snag one of just a few spots left for this free workshop on June 10th by signing up here.

BBF: What can audiences look forward to from your session at Lit Crawl?

Alexis Ivy: Writers will have the chance to be playful with language and selfhood.

BBF: How is writing poetry specifically inspired by art different from other writing endeavors?

AI: Ekphrastic poetry lets writers go to places they hadn’t thought of. Whether a translation or inspiration, art allows a writer to work in the form of persona. The exercise of ekphrasis brings unfamiliar and surprising language to the page by its ever-changing perspectives of looking at a piece of art. Art adds a creative complication to the writing making your words wondrously more dynamic and unique.

BBF: How has the past year influenced or informed your writing style or your artistic focus?

AI: I have learned I need to be away from home in order to focus on my manuscript. Since life has been all homelife, home has taken on a different definition for me as a writer. It has stopped being a refuge for me as a writer. My focus hasn’t changed as much as my artistic space.

BBF: Being Boston-born, what is your favorite aspect of the Boston-area community?

AI: Writers celebrate the literary history of our streets. The art of words is a wonderful call to action. Whether it’s poetry on the T, sidewalk poetry, public readings, library branch workshops—this city’s collaboration of writers make sure everyone’s words are seen, spoken, heard.

Sign up for this workshop at at Lit Crawl 2021!


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